Here we go again. After the Broadway tour, countless touring companies and two movies, does the world need another production of “Mamma Mia!” ? Yes. Yes. And the Skylight Music Theater is putting on the exuberant 70s party until October 16th.
“Mom Mia! was not the first musical jukebox, but it is perhaps the most popular, and it differs from other successful examples (“Jersey Boys” “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical”) in that it weaves Abba’s greatest hits (written mostly by Benny Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus) into an original story rather than an artist biography.
For this reason, some songs have more plot meaning than others. Many, like “Dancing Queen” and “Money, Money, Money” are on point. Others are more exaggerated.
Fortunately, the cast of Skylight, led by Lisa Estridge and Camara Stampley, is very flexible. What the story sometimes lacks in logic, it more than makes up for with an energy that’s impossible to resist if the opening night audience is any indication.
Director and choreographer Monica Kapoor, who was part of the Broadway production for seven years, leads the entire talented cast in an unapologetic embrace of the show’s inherent silliness and good humor.
Estridge plays Donna, an independent single mother who runs a hotel in the Greek Isles. She plans her daughter’s wedding with the help of two friends/former bandmates of 20 years. Her daughter, played by the incandescent Stampley, secretly invites three men from her mother’s past in the hope (based on a clandestine reading of her mother’s diary) that one will be her father.
Kelly Britt and Amanda Satchell, as former partners in disco crime, both have the opportunity to shine and each grabs it with both hands. While “Mamma Mia” is about female power, the men (Ben Broughton as groom-to-be and Ben George, Jake Horstmeyer and Victor Wallace as potential fathers) are more than holding their own.
Wallace, in particular, impresses with his powerful voice. That power and richness born of experience is more than offset by Estridge’s stunning voice, while Stampley’s is full of joy and youthful desire.
“Mamma Mia” is heart, sparkle and spandex all rolled into one — the latter two courtesy of costume designer Jason Orlenko.
I heard someone once refer to the “Mamma Mia” movies (Meryl Streep, Peirce Brosnan and (gulp) Cher) as guilty pleasures. Skylight’s giddy “Mamma” is all the fun without any guilt.